SUNDERLAND Harriers’ veterans scooped double gold as they ran to success in the Durham Cathedral Cross-Country Relays at the Racecourse yesterday.
The over-45 team not only won the open race for veterans’ aged from 35 years, but also took the North East Veterans’ over-45 championship in the three-stage relay, which attracted 36 teams.
The royal blue vests led throughout and at the finish clocked 28.38 to beat Morpeth by 62 seconds, with North Shields third a further 17 seconds down.
The Sunderland golden oldies were headed by British veterans’ M45 cross-country champion Brian Rushworth, who recorded the second fastest time of the day.
The 48-year-old clocked 9.15 on the second 3,000m leg to finish behind the younger legs of 40-year-old Ian Twaddle. He completed his circuit in 9.08 for North Shields on the same leg.
It was Tim Field, the 45-year-old, who is enjoying a purple patch after a couple of lean years, who set up the win for the Wearsiders.
He claimed first place on the opening leg with his superb run of 9.33 for the fourth quickest time overall.
Field’s run set up Rushworth nicely and the relay marvel put Sunderland’s victory beyond doubt before his training pal Brian Bewick took over on the anchor leg.
The Silksworth man also ran out of his skin and his stint of 9.50 claimed him the sixth-fastest time.
Sunderland’s A team finished fifth (30.16) and also picked up bronze medals in the over-35 competition.
They were Jon Dobson (9.58), Paul Merrison (10.12), who was also the fastest over-50 prize-winner and 45-year-old Paul Redman (10.06).
The club’s over-55 trio were also among the medals with third. They were Steve Winter (12.07), Len Christopher (12.12) and Jim Wightman (12.24).
Sunderland Strollers finished ninth with Mick Rennison (10.48), Tim Allsop (10.50) and Ken Maynard (10.39).
Tim Field was back in action again just over an hour later when he filled a vacant spot in the club’s senior men’s team.
He ran the third and last leg and moved the team up one place to eighth in a time just three seconds slower (9.33) than he ran in the veterans’ relay. Jake Archer (9.23) and Steven Duffy (9.47) were the other team members.
New Marske won the relay (26.26) from Morpeth (26.33) and Gateshead (26.53).
Morpeth’s Jonny Taylor (8.29), New Marske’s Andrew Wiles (8.42) and Dominic Shaw (8.50) plus Gateshead’s Sean Hall (8.50) and Durham’s Shaun Moralee (8.50) were the fastest on the course.
Morpeth won the women’s relay (31.59) ahead of Gateshead (32.55) and Elswick (33.16).
Sunderland Harriers ran well for fifth (34.27) after Michelle Holt came through strongly to finish third on the first leg (10.57). Then came Hayley Reed (11.40) and Ingrid Hope (11.50) for the fastest time by an over-50.
Durham City were fourth through Emma Toogood (10.59), Clare Manser (11.34) and Olivia Tindale (10.59). Sunderland Strollers finished 12th with Jill Kisler (13.08), Rachel Ball (12.51) and Vicki Booth (11.32).
The fastest overall was Gateshead’s international Stacy Smith (9.43), followed by Morpeth’s Morag Stead (10.20) and Elswick’s Angela Gibson (10.20).